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Jakarta Post

Aburizal in peril following Jokowi'€™s win

  • Margareth S. Aritonang

    The Jakarta Post

  /   Fri, July 11, 2014   /  09:54 am

The presumptive victory of Joko '€œJokowi'€ Widodo and his running mate Jusuf Kalla in the July 9 presidential election has put Aburizal Bakrie'€™s leadership of the Golkar Party at risk, with members of the party'€™s central board and regional chapters calling for a national congress (Munas) to elect a new chairman ahead of schedule.

A Golkar congress in 2009 gave Aburizal the party leadership until the party'€™s next scheduled congress to elect a new chairman in 2015.

Many on the central board and in the regional chapters seem poised to unseat Aburizal before his term expires, perhaps to clear the way for inroads into the putative Jokowi administration.

'€œMany of us actually regretted his [Aburizal'€™s] decision to support the candidacy of Prabowo [Subianto]. The quick count results from trusted pollsters show that Jokowi-Kalla is leading and this has lent more credence to our call to unseat [Aburizal],'€ Golkar politician Poempida Hidayatulloh said Thursday.

Poempida, one of three Golkar lawmakers who were stripped of their positions on key commissions in the House of Representatives for declaring support for Jokowi and Kalla in the presidential election, said those opposition to Aburizal expected Golkar would have a new chairman before October so the party could move to join the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle'€™s (PDI-P) ruling coalition.

Separately, another dissident within Golkar, Nusron Wahid, the leader of the youth wing of Muslim organization Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Gerakan Pemuda (GP) Ansor, expressed his confidence that the victory of Jokowi and Kalla would bring significant change to Golkar.

'€œGolkar has no history of standing against the power. We have never been in opposition. So, Golkar will inevitably join the coalition of the next government. Therefore, expediting the national congress is a must,'€ Nusron said.

If the plot to unseat Aburizal succeeds and a pro-Jokowi faction takes control of the party, Golkar would likely join the PDI-P and its coalition partners '€” the NasDem Party, the National Awakening Party (PKB) and the Hanura Party '€” in the ruling government.

With Golkar in the coalition, it is expected that a Jokowi administration would have a majority in the House.

Kalla, who remains an official member of Golkar, has also expressed his confidence that the party would become part of the next government. '€œPolitics is dynamic and very fluid. We can easily adapt to a new situation.'€

A coup against Aburizal would not be the first time Golkar underwent a change in leadership to join a new government.

In 2004, Golkar joined the Democratic Party-led coalition, which nominated the candidacy of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and Kalla, after then Golkar chairman Wiranto and his running mate Salahuddin Wahid lost the presidential contest. Supporters of Kalla managed to oust Wiranto and install Kalla as his successor.

In the 2009 election, the party also switched from nominating a Kalla-Wiranto ticket to joining the coalition of Yudhoyono, who won a second term. Kalla was ousted by Aburizal following his defeat in the presidential election.

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